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My Blossoming Baby

Cora’s nearly five months now, and I
can’t believe the time’s gone so fast. I remember that
at this point with Maddie I felt as if I’d had her forever,
but right now it seems as though Cora just came home with us.

Part of this, I know, is that I’m not a new mom and
haven’t had to adjust to such a different life –
Cora’s sort of slipped into the family stream more easily
than Maddie, mostly because adjusting to two kids is way easier
than adjusting to having one in the first place. So we travel down
our day-to-day road enjoying each other, when suddenly I look up
and she’s not a newborn anymore!

Another part is that our life is in such
limbo that I don’t dare look to far into the future: still
jobless, still not knowing what city we’ll be living in a few
months from now, we try very hard to stay in the present and not
worry too much about that unknown future. Which means we keep our
heads down and simply try to survive one day. Then one day more.
Then another, until our heads lift and rows of days have been
strung together and a month’s gone by.

Finally, though, Cora’s age creeps up on me because, frankly,
her growing up is nothing new – I’ve already seen it
before. I know this sounds horrible, but hear me out. With Maddie,
everything was new – I’d never seen yellow seedy stool,
or heard a baby blow raspberries, or see one find her feet. Every
milestone was amazing and fresh and new, so I kept an eagle eye on
her and was intimately acquainted with every slight change in her
personality or routine. With Cora, I confess I find myself looking
at her and saying, “Oh, look, she found her feet. Guess
she’s hit that milestone. Is someone going to the grocery
store soon?” I have to force myself to stop and marvel
– this tiny human being just realized for the first time EVER
that those feet down there are hers, to play with whenever she
wants! How cool is that!

I really dislike my blasé attitude about this. After all,
just because I’ve seen a baby crawl doesn’t mean
I’ve seen Cora crawl, and that will be an incredible moment.
So I purposefully take time out of my day to sit and observe her,
to try to hang out quietly with this great kid and get to know her.
Maddie’s naptime is perfect for this bonding, as is
Maddie’s playtime after dinner; while she’s driving
Gamma to exhaustion in the playroom Cora and I are dancing quietly
to music together.

I’ve noticed a huge change in Cora over the past couple of
weeks, too. Possibly because I’m looking closer, perhaps
because I’m interacting more deliberately with her and
encouraging this growth, probably because she’s simply hit
that developmental growth spurt and has started to see the world
around her. As a second child myself, I’m rather more aware
than I should be of the struggle to make the subsequent children
feel as “special” as the firstborn; let’s face
it, the first kid gets all the engraved cups and spoons and bowls
and rattles and baby books with page after page scribbled upon, and
all the children after that are lucky to have a baby book at all,
much less have any pictures in it.

So Cora, when you look back on this, mining a copy of this website
for clues as to how you were raised, how you were loved, know this:
you are loved voraciously. I devour you every chance I get. Never
mistake a lack of time on my part for a lack of love. And in case
you’re wondering, here’s what you’re like right

First off, Cora, you’ve got the most infectious laugh.
Mornings are the best time for me, since you giggle at anything.
Maddie can set you off and she likes nothing better than to spend a
long stretch of time feverishly dancing in front of you accompanied
by your chuckles; as long as you’re smiling she’s
panting and jumping and twirling away for you. You found your feet
a few weeks ago and, rather than marveling at them, have a sort of,
“Perfect! A place to put my hands now! Outstanding!”
sort of attitude about them, and you’ll often hook your hands
around those feet without even glancing at them – a sort of
“pocket” if you will.

Your absolute favorite thing in the whole world (other than
nursing, of course) is to have me sing the Baby song to the tune of
the Wheels on the Bus, complete with the movements I make you do:
“The legs on the baby go kick kick kick! The toes on the baby
go bonk bonk bonk (as I touch your toes to your face)!” and
so on. Just hearing the opening line makes you wiggle happily in

You’ve gone from a baby who hated tummy time (which the
doctor noticed and asked us to work on) to a baby who won’t
stay off her tummy. Put you on the floor, and you’ll roll
onto your belly in less than five seconds and stay there the whole
time. You especially love having a mirror to look at yourself in
once you get there. You aren’t so good at returning to your
back, so you’ll whimper until I help out. Once on your back,
though, you have become quite interested in the hanging toys on the
playmat and will look side to side to find something loose to try
to pick up.

And this is one of your newest and best tricks – you are
working like anything on controlling those arms. You can grab with
one or two hands and are becoming quite deliberate about using your
arms; Brian and I have both noticed that you will stroke our arms
or faces over and over again, partly exploring us and partly
impressed with what you can do! For about a week now I’ve
seen a real attempt on your part to interact with the world rather
than simply observe it, and I can almost see Tarzan-like speech
going on in your brain as you look around and think: “Pretty
toy! Me like! Me touch! Good!” I’m impressed with the
thought process that’s clearly going on before many of your
actions, and how complex your emotions are becoming – less of
simply hungry or tired, and more shades of grey and opinions.

Those arms are also starting to make you a more active participant
in the hold: where once you were a sack of flour in our arms, now
you are actually trying to hold onto us with one arm, pushing
yourself around to face the world with the other. You also use them
to pull yourself up to sitting from lying down: you’ll hook
your hands around our thumbs then pull to sitting, then try to
continue on, pushing up determinedly on your legs to standing. You
now prefer to sit in a lap with both legs hanging to the inside,
touching the seat. Periodically you’ll try to stand up,
almost forcing the adult to help you to “standing”
position. You’ll waver there a few moments, collapse back
down onto the available knee, and rest up for the next try.

In short, Li’l Bit, you’re blossoming. And I’m
loving watching every minute.


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